Monday, October 31, 2005

More Reviews

If you believe the good ones you have to believe the bad ones as the saying goes. But every now and then it is nice to bask a little in the praise of others. I told you about the Post and City Paper but here are some quotes and links to some other reviews that you probably don't know about. Click on the links for the full reviews.

This is a fun and witty show that moves at a very quick pace. David Ghatan's set design takes you right back to the Globe Theatre, although sitting in the balcony may not be for everyone. Before you head over to Rorschach's space in Columbia Heights, I suggest you type "Shakespeare controversy" into a search engine; you'll have reading for hours.
Rich See -

Grady Weatherford makes a marvelous bard-as-bumpkin, both because of a physical resemblance to the image we know from prints, and because of his bumbling but believable comedy. He gradually takes his character from stage-struck neophyte to an experienced, slightly wiser member of the theater community.
Brad Hathaway- Potomac Stages

The play delivers quality acting, easy to appreciate humor, and an innovative approach to a timeless mystery. Those who don't know Shakespearean works well may miss some embedded quotes, but little of the plot or humor will be lost.
Laurne Marberger - The Eagle

The love of theatre is the prevailing theme in Rorschach’s latest production and it is quite clear that is what drives this company of very talented performers. Guaranteed laughs and a wonderful evening of theatre await if you have tickets for The Beard of Avon, if you don’t get them!
Walter Ruff - DC Theater Reviews

The show could easily have its roots in British comedy, with its effective mix of outright silliness and clever wordplay. It does an exceptional job weaving in historical content, Shakespearean shout-outs (an Ophelia allusion referencing a "15-year-old drowning in a duck pond" is one guffaw-worthy example), and pointed jabs at the often-pretentious nature of theater.
Misty Frederick - The DCist

Friday, October 28, 2005

Inside Jokes

Have you ever been watching a favorite movie and notice some kind of tremendous in joke that set designer has slipped into the shot. Well our props designer Beth Baldwin has done the theatrical equivalent with the posters which decorate the space at Casa del Pueblo. Here is just two of her creations.

Blog Ticket Special

Not the funniest headline for a post but a true one if I ever read one. Here is the deal for all of you loyal blog readers. $15 tickets for anyone who comes to see The Beard of Avon and says the following, "Bloggity, Blog, Blog, Blog." That is a savings of $3 off of the usual adult admission price of $18. This is a walk up deal only so don't call the ticket number and say "Bloggity, Blog, Blog, Blog," because they will only laugh at you and nobody wants that. Well I suppose I want it a little bit. So come on down and show what you will do to save 3 bucks.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

City Paper Chimes In

Props to the City Paper for the better pun/title this time around for a theatre review, "Avant Bard" vs. The Post's rather sad showing with the two shot: "Rorschach's 'Beard' Playfully Tweaks the Bard" and the interior "Rorschach's 'Beard of Avon,' a Comedy of Players." To be honest I feel that both Post headlines are really not worthy of the title pun competition. Maybe Professor Singdahlson can chime in here but what I think the Post was trying to do was use "Playfully" as a play on the fact that we are doing a play and then they follow it up on the inside with a rather botched reference to Comedy of Errors, replacing Errors with Players. If anyone else has better title please forward them to me so we can get them out there before someone else takes it.

Favorite City Paper Quote:

The Beard of Avon plays like a bunch of drunk Shakespeareans putting together an uncommonly clever episode of Saturday Night Live, and I meant that as compliment.

-Trey Graham

The Art of Funny

This is a note from Eric Singdahlsen explaining why exactly the title of the last post was funny. Eric is a Professor of Funny at Funny College in Funnyton, FU. Not the state school but the small private liberal arts college on the otherside of town. Enjoy!

"Hocus Focus" is a funny title, because it's kind of like "Hocus Pocus," except it's not. Scott took a word from photography and mixed it with a word we associate with magic to give a name to a magical photograph. "Pocus" and "focus" sound the same, which makes it funnier. "Camera-cadabra," for example, wouldn't be as funny. I hope this helps.


Hocus Focus

Here is a picture I took last weekend of the stage from the house right balcony. You can see the floor and hay bale.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I think it has become abundantly clear that I more than just act in Rorschach shows. I have been an Artistic Partner with Rorschach for the last 5 seasons. When I say that most people want to know what does that mean. I really don't have an answer for that. What I can tell you is what I have taken on since I became a partner and a big part of that is getting the critics to come see the shows.

Not to harp on it but Rorschach is a small company, not the smallest mind you but we still have to squeeze every dollar we spend so that most of it lands on stage. We don't have the money to run fancy ads in the Post or underwrite broadcasting on WETA, most of our advertising budget goes into post cards and ads in the Guide to the Lively Arts every Friday. How do we make up for this disadvantage when all the big boys and girls, and you know who they are, spend as much on advertising as they do on production sometimes? The answer is to get as much free press as you can.

I have posted links to the articles that Christina Talcott and Jane Horwitz have written about us for the Post, but as much as those articles help to create the buzz you need to practice the fine art of P.A.I.S. (put asses in seats), the press that makes or breaks you is reviews.

As an actor I am supposed to reject the importance of reviews to the work going on, but let's face it folks it is easier to get people to come if you have a couple of meaty quotes from the critics to whip out. People, either through conditioning or through experience, are more likely to see a show they have a passing interest in if the show is well reviewed. While a good write-up is no guarantee of success, you can't beat the impact of a review and a picture in the City Paper or the Post. And the most important factor for a small company is that good or bad, a review is a free piece of advertising.

So as opening approached I spent my days on the phone with editors and reviewers, gently reminding them that we are opening this weekend. Sometimes all it takes is a phone call, other times it takes three or four phone calls, three emails and personal ad, to get a commitment from the critics to come. And its not just the big papers you want there, in this day and age of what I like to call the internet, there are on-line reviews which while not as widely read as the Post and City Paper still P.A.I.S.

A good review or any review is not the end of the world if a play has buzz. When Rorschach produced The Master and Margarita a couple of seasons back, I couldn't get anyone from the Post to come to see the show until we were half way through the run. Apparently everyone at the Post goes on vacation in August thinking there is no theater going on. Even when they sent someone to see the show he was not a critic and left half way through the performance. He came back and the Post ran a great review. But The Master and Margarita was the kind of show that sort of sold itself and we sold out the entire run even before the critics had come. Sometimes you can create your own buzz when the show you are selling is that good and a story people want to see. I think that The Beard of Avon is just that sort of play and the more people who you tell the less we will have to rely on reviews and the work can speak for itself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ninja ASM

Couple of days ago I posted a computer generated version of one of my The Beard of Avon looks. Today I share with you the Ninja Hero created by our ASM and Sound Board Op Gwen. Then Gwen has a brief statement. Enjoy!

I'm not really very good at unrelieved prose, I kinda like to have a structure.

I'll put things in a list:

1. My name is Gwendolyn.

2. I grew up in Frederick.

3. I live with my mom and stepdad, but it's only temporary, and I am quite self-sufficient, okay??

4. Randy contacted me two weeks ago to jump on board w/this show,
and I've been quite happy since then!

5. I'm addicted to the internet.

6. My favorite color is yellow.

7. My favorite Rorschach shows I've seen were Anarchist and BEHOLD!

8. My favorite Avon sound cue is the "bedroom scene" underscore.

9. I have a livejournal, but quite honestly I'm a little embarrassed...

That's about it, come see the show!

Rorschach of the Serengeti

"Director Jessica Burgess and a well-drilled cast, led by the winning Grady Weatherford as Will, tackle their assignments with the ravenous pleasure of hyenas feasting on a leg of gnu."

That is my favorite sentence in the Peter Marks Washington Post Review of The Beard of Avon.

Overall a nice review.

Also check out Jane Horwitz's small chat with Grady Weatherford and Jessi Burgess in the Back Stage column in the Style section as well.

Patrick Bussink, Grady Weatherford and me before the Queen.

Monday, October 24, 2005

More Photos from the Show

Congratulations On Your Magnificent Opening

Well we are opened. The Beard of Avon met with a huge response from our fans and I heard even a critic or two laughing somewhere out there in the house. I want to personally thank everyone who has made this show possible from our board to our artistic partners, our designers and our crew. Special thanks to the actors who left it all out there for the world to see on Saturday Night, I can't think of a single thing that would have made the performance any better from any one of you.

I would also like to thank our Director, Jessi Burgess, whose hard work and determination wrangled this show into the piece of joy that it is today.

Special shout out to every one who joined us in the upstairs room at Haydee's after the fantastic desserts prepared by Board Member Jordana.

I leave you with a comparison contrast shot. Above left you see the final lit, costumed and acted scene I featured a few weeks back of the court pyramid. Thanks for coming along on the production journey and I will continue to publish everyday.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Bard of Anatevka

Well Ladies and Gentlemen tonight is the last Pay-What-You-Can Preview and the we are open. Previews have been going well and the show just keeps getting tighter and funnier every time we do it. I hope to see some of you this weekend and I will continue to update after we open. I leave you now with this picture of Grady Weatherford auditioning to take over the role of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway. Enjoy!

Weekend Section

Christina Talcott from the Post's Weekend Section spent last Saturday evening with us for one of our tech run throughs of The Beard of Avon. She wrote a fantastic article for the Post which features numerous quotes from the actors and producers of the show and a rather large photo. Check it out here, but I also recommend picking up the Post and checking it out yourself.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Make a Hero

One thing I like to do after the costume designer has finished making me look beautiful, I try and recreate my characters look using a program on the web, HeroMachine, that lets you create super heroes. It gives a couple of different of body types to choose both male and female and then you build the character.

Here is a picture of me as Heminge. If other cast members would like to take a stab, I can let you know how to save the pic after you have created it and we can post it here.

Waiting for Petruchio

Here is The Beard of Avon cast member Andrew Jessop waiting to run the fight scenes for The Taming of the Shrew. Andrew plays Katherine.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Grady Weatherford did what few men in their early thirties would willingly do, he shaved the front of his head to look balder. Now I am not talking about shaving his entire head, I mean the very front of his hair line is now two inches back from where it was when he woke up yesterday.

Grady made this sacrifice so he would bear a closer resemblance to the Shakespeare we all have seen in the drawings.

It's this sort of commitment to the craft that makes Rorschach Theatre's acting troop that much cooler than any other company in town. But as Grady is apt to say, "If it doesn't hurt you aren't doing it right."

Costume designer Jenn Miller holds the remains of the hair to the left. Goodbye old friend you will be missed.

Reminder two more Pay-What-You-Can Previews tonight and tomorrow, before we open on Saturday Night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A New Suspect

Eric Singdahlsen, let me know that CNN is running an article on the newest suspect in the Who was Shakespeare? Debate.

The newest suspect is Sir Henry Neville, an English courtier and distant relative of the Stratford Shakespeare. Shakespeare himself was simply a front man, claim Brenda James and William Rubinstein in "The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare." The book was recently published in Great Britain.

Once again the debate will rage over whether a man with little education and from a lower class background would have been capable of writing the works of Shakespeare.

Sir Henry joins the ever growing list of suspects who we have mentioned before; Edward deVere, Sir Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe.

I was wondering if we have anyone who would like to weigh in on this great debate. I will admit that I am in my heart a man who believes that one man wrote the works of William Shakespeare and that one man is William Shakespeare. I think it ma ybe something strangely American in my make-up that offends me when yet another member of the British Ruling Class is trotted out, rather than facing the very real possibilty that Shakespeare was a genuis who just happened to have been born to the lower classes.

Please chime in with your thought.

Express Yourself

Every now and then the media tells you right where you as an artist exist in the world of popular entertainment. Usually this takes the form of award shows and lists. You know lists like the 100 Greatest Crane Shots of All Time or TV Guides 25 Greatest TV Characters with Accents (I had money riding on Latka Gravas and damn if Balkie Bartokamoose didn't beat him).

The list in this case is The Express's Top Stops List. We made the list, right between recently Out screen star Tab Hunter and something called Garage-Pop bands called The High Strung and Dram (apparently formerly known as Slobberbone).

Just a reminder Pay-What-You-Can Previews of The Beard of Avon start tonight. So if you aren't too busy hearing Tab Hunter wax on and on about how hard it was to be in Hollywood in the 60's or trying to stretch your head around the idea of Garage-Pop, come on over to Columbia Heights and get ready to be entertained.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Will and Anne

Here our hero attempts to woo his own wife. Valerie Fenton as Anne Hathaway and Grady Weatherford as Will Shakspere in the midst of the barn.

More Action Round the Hay Bale

Here am I standing to the right as John Heminge and Patrick Bussink nealing to the left of Grady Weatherford as Will Shakespeare. We are trying to convince him of something or another. Please note my expression of quite desperation and Grady's indifference.

Pay-What-You-Can Previews start tomorrow night. Check HERE for details.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Bard and His Friend

Every Shakespearean Hero needs a companion and best friend. Whether it is Hamlet and Horatio, Petruchio and Grumio, or Lear and The Fool. Will Shakspere's just happens to be a dirty smelly man of indeterminte age who loves a good joke about a bodily functions. Here they are Collin on the left (Austin Bragg) and Will on the right (Grady Weatherford). I think they are sitting on hay or something.


Wendy Wilmer as Queen Elizabeth. Please ignore the totem pole from Behold! that is being stored behind her.

High Above

Taking the audience to a level we have never taken them to before. Rorschach Theatre introduces balcony seating. Here are some of the cast and crew of The Beard of Avon, perched above the playing area. For the first time ever Rorschach audiences will be able to get a birds eye view of the action as it plays across the stage.

One of the design elements of The Beard of Avon is to attempt to recreate the experience of seeing Shakespearean theatre the way it would have been seen in The Globe Theater in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries. Have no fear there will still be seating close to the ground, but this upstairs seating may prove to be very popular as it will give the audience the opportunity to see our play in the same way Elizabeathen Nobility would have seen it to remove themselves from the touch of the groundlings and lower classes.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Open Letter to Our Fan Base

Dearest Rorschachians,

This is your fair warning. The Beard of Avon is going to be a blast and we want you to be there for the rollercoaster ride that will make you laugh and for those of you who cry easily, leak from your eyes a little bit.

Here are the facts:

1. Fantastic Premise:

Will Shakespeare, a country simpleton who longs for something more than his filthy barn, escapes Stratford with an acting troupe only to become an abused bit-player and the unwitting pawn of the Earl of Oxford and other members of the court who use him as a front man for their previously un-producible plays. Smart and funny, raunchy and wild, Pulitzer Prize nominee Amy Freed has created a clever farce about the controversial notions of Shakespeare’s authorship and on the meaning of creativity itself.

2. Killer Cast:

Austin Bragg, Patrick Bussink, Valerie Fenton, Andrew Jessop, Scott McCormick, Eric Singdahlsen, Brent Stansell, Grady Weatherford, Wendy Wilmer.

3. Fantastic Designers and Director:
Jessica Burgess (Director), Elizabeth Baldwin (Props Design), David C. Ghatan (Set and Lighting Design), Jesse Terrill (Original Music Compositions), Jenn Miller(Costume Design), Matthew Frederick (Sound Design), Ellen Houseknecht (Stage Manager), Gabrielle Vincent (Wigs and Makeup), Andrew F. Griffin (Asst. Lighting Design), Michael Dove (Asst. Set Design).

4. Three Pay-What-You-Can Previews:

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, next week (October 19th, 20th and 21st). See this show before they turn you away at the door like the snooty French waiter buried inside all of us. No reservations will be taken for these shows, just show up at the door and pay-what-ever-you-can.

This show promises to be one of the biggest things Rorschach has done and I am speaking as a member of the company who was there when we produced The Master and Margarita and Behold!

You won't want to miss this show and I think it is so good you will want to come again, so why not save a couple of bucks the first time and see a PWYC preview next week.

I will have a full report on Monday and promise photos of the set and costumes. Finally.

The Mad Blogger What Blogs at Midnight

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Cue to Cue

We waded hip deep into our technical rehearsals this week. In the business this is called a Cue to Cue. This is when we integrate sound and lights into the peformance of the show. As an actor that means you will start a scene and then they will stop you and figure out the levels at which the lights need to be to create the mood and also so you can be seen. This also involves finding the exact timing at which the changes need to happen.

This process can be frustrating and at times magical. Being able to move the story forward. Sometimes the actors will say the same line over and over again and lighting cues and sound cues will be written over and over again trying to get just the right effect. You can be acting and all will go from light to dark in the span of three words.

Sometimes you can get punchy. Lines that are in no way funny take on a hypnotic and fugue like quality. When the director says "Let me see the top of your 'Wonderful! Wonderful!'." and a certain actor and blogger loses control and laughs so hard he has to leave the stage, you know how punchy you can get.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Earl

Anyone who has spent time around Shakespeare knows that there has always been some lurking doubt about whether William Shakespeare actually wrote the plays and sonnets which are now viewed as perhaps the most brilliant in the history of English Language. I have previously discussed that there are those who believe it was in fact someone else or several someone elses. And despite numerous historical references to an actual historical Shakespeare, there are academics around the world who believe the plays were actually written, by one Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford.

One of the chief suspects in this conspiracy of literature, Oxford was an accomplished poet and courtier. He had traveled the world and had written some masques and plays for the court, none of which have survived until today. The case against Shakespeare can be found at this Web Site (please ignore the Snoopy Cartoon at the top of the page.)

The character of Oxford plays a crucial role in Amy Freed's The Beard of Avon and we have been lucky enough to have landed a very talented ukulele player and actor, Eric Singdahlsen, to play the role. Once again I sat down with Eric and asked some hard questions:

1. If Superman battled the Hulk who would win?

2. What exactly is the other white meat?
Well, I used to work on a hog farm and wore a pin that said "The Other White Meat", so I am going to say pork.

3. America right or wrong?
About what?

4. Which of the Three Stooges has had the greatest impact on you?
A lot of the sense memory work I do is a result of reading many interviews with Moe.

5. Name five actors:
Edwin Booth, Charles Laughton, James Mason, Jodie Foster and Kevin Pollack

6. You realize two of those actors are associated with either successful or unsuccessful attempts to kill a U.S. President?

7. Why did you decide to say yes to doing this play?
Long story short, my wife suggested that it would be a good antidote for my natural reclusiveness.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Props and Costumes were added to the mix this weekend, as our first Pay-What-You-Can preview is just 8 days away (Wednesday, October 19th at 8pm).

I always have trouble writing about what a costume means to an actor. Sometimes they act as a gateway into a level of performance that you could never have imagined yourself achieving during first read and other times they present an obstacle and a foe which must be battled into submission just so you don't trip and break your neck out there.

I have before mentioned our talented costume designer Ms. Jenn Miller. I have shown you the racks upon racks of costumes that she has sorted through, altered and adjusted so that this show will not only sound good but look and move beautifully. Costume design I think is one of the aspects of theater that gets appreciated more by the audiences than almost any other. It is also just as quickly disparaged. Most people dress themselves and therefore have an opinion on a character's clothes that they might never have on how they are lit.

To be honest as an actor the costume designer is the one who can either make your life easy or can make your life a living hell. Think about the power of a man or a woman who can make your pants just a little too tight if you cross them. Your pants will be riding up for an entire run unless they and you have established a relationship that shows you appreciate the hard finger aching labor they bring to their art.

Face it folks you may dress yourself every morning, but how many of you have ever had to dress 9 men and women of diverse body type and tried to not only establish a unified look, but also serve the characters, the actor and a play. This is not just playing dress-up. Costuming requires a keen eye, historical knowledge and the willingness to think about what kind of underwear they wore in the 16th century. I will try and post some images of the costumes tomorrow and they can speak for themselves.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bring me the head of David Sabin!

Farthingales and Woozles

Wendy Wilmer, a wonderful actress and long time friend is making her Rorschach Theatre premiere in The Beard of Avon. Wendy will be playing Queeny herself, Elizabeth Tudor. Amy Freed has gone to town using every imaginable nomenclature to describe Old Queen Bess. Elizabeth is addressed as everything from Her Royal Majesty to a couple of particularly toothy puns.

Wendy is also facing a challenge that few actors ever have to face. Here are some of Wendy's thoughts on her particular acting and costuming challenge.

“What, I say what, is a "farthingale?”

That was a question my son posed when I emailed him about the show and my role as Queen Elizabeth. My greatest challenge to date has been learning to manage (not that I have… yet!) the costume. A farthingale, for those of you who don’t know what they are, is a contraption that 16th century court ladies wore around their waists and under their skirts to make them extend obcenely to the sides, thus giving them hips that were as wide as they were tall! Their [outside] skirts covered them and hung to the ground. It gives one the appearance of a frigate in full sail! But then, a picture is worth a thousand words . . .

Friday, October 07, 2005

Making the Post Card

Sometimes picking the right image for your show requires a lot of compromise and throwing away ideas that just seem to be going nowhere. Yesterday I posted the image which has been worked into the design for the post card for The Beard of Avon. During the process we went through 14 drafts in two days. It takes great patience to create something which not only looks good but which actually conveys what it is your show is about and will make people want to come and see it.

Phone calls, emails and IMs fly back and forth between artistic directors, marketing manager and layout designer trying to meet not just the goal of making a post card but something other people will look at and say "Hey, that is cool!"

It can be stressful and at times you may even have some bruised feelings along the way. The thing which has to be remembered is that everyone is working towards the same goal and no one wants to look ridiculous.

I want to give a special thanks to everyone who helped create the image you see above. Grady for his tireless efforts to do the layout and work with the photos, even when it meant spending hours working on something which eventually was not used. Randy and Jenny for giving helpful notes and for withholding those notes until the were really needed. And thanks to Chris Maddaloni for working through less than ideal circumstances to get us the images we asked him to create on film.

Now its off to the printers and we shall see whether this Angelic Beast comes back as gloriously as it appears above.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Teaser Photo

The Beautiful and Effeminate Third Earl of Southampton

Once again one of our company of players checks in with a bit of character work. For your reading pleasure, Mr. Brent Stansell.

I thought I would share with you loyal blog readers a little about the character I’m playing, Henry Wriothesley (pronounced Rot-sley), the beautiful and effeminate Third Earl of Southampton. Scholars believe that most likely Shakespeare’s sonnets were dedicated to young Wriothesley. He became an Earl of the Court at the young age of 8 and quickly became favored by Queen Elizabeth. He was a patron of the arts and received lots of attention from poets of the time. In Amy Freed’s crazy comedic concoction, Wriothesley is also the male lover of the Earl of Oxford, doting, lovable, and very very gay.

This is my favorite picture of young Wriothesley. He had his portrait captured with his cat Trixie. When Wriothesley ends up in the Tower of London (for a very brief period!), he smuggles Trixie in with him. Notice also the richly adorned attire, the slight limp wrists, the bracelet and pinky ring. I hope to do this fabulous character justice. And I have a lot of work to do: nailing my high-pitched British dialect, figuring out just the right way to prance into a room, deciding which annoying habits I have to bother my Oxford with.

So I head off to work, but I’ll leave you actors, artists, and blog readers with a piece of advice once told to me by a well-known DC director: Never put your pussy in the picture. But if you do, I hope you do it as fabulously as Henry Wriothesley.

Thanks for checking out the blog.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Val Fenton Interrogated

Anne Hathaway is our Shakespeare's ever loving wife. In historical terms her life wasn't an easy one. Anne was stranded in Stratford while good old Will went all crazy and ran off to London to join the theatre.

Our Anne is played by first time Rorschach actor, Valerie Fenton. I took a couple of minutes to sit down and talk with Val about things and here are some of her responses.

1. If America were an all you could eat buffet, which dish would Arkansas be?

Jello-mold with Fruit

2. Have you ever had a Hernia?

Hernia? I never even met her.

3. Shoe size or nose size?

Shoe size? What are you talking about. Oh, I get it!

4. Snorks or Smurfs?


5. Did you kill man in Reno just to watch him die?

Did I or would I?

See its smart and interesting conversations like that which make down time at rehearsal so much fun.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fight Night

Last night was something special as far as rehearsals go. It was stage combat night. I could give you the usual stuff about no one gets hurt and how that it is a carefully choreographed dance of controlled violence, but lets face it when it is done well it is hard to tell whether it is real or fake. And just for the sake of saying it please do not try anything you see at Rorschach at home.

Last night we were visited by Chris Neibling, a very skilled fight man. He and the director then proceeded to block what I can only call the mother of all Shakespearean Battle Royales, which brings to a close our retelling of Taming of the Shrew. Please take note to the left where Austin Bragg (Petruchio) is getting the tar beat out of him by Andrew Jessop (Katherine).

I remember my first show at Rorschach, God of Vengeance, we were so close to the audience that anything but a real slap would have been weak, so every show for a month I got to slap the hell out of my friend John Cohn. Rorschach has in the past had some killer brawls. From the slapstick antics of Ubu Roi, to the tribal hunt of Hugh T. Owen which brought Lord of the Flies to a close and even the ritual sacrifice of Mark Sullivan in Master and Margarita, great stage combat has been the hallmark of many a Rorschach Show. Thanks to fight choreographers like Chris Neibling and Grady Weatherford we have been having amazingly dangerous looking fights, and have always been aware of the safety of our actors and audience. I have seen nearly all of the fights in Rorschach History folks and I think we have ourselves a winner, with this one.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Photo Call

We had a bit of a mini-photo call on Saturday. To the left you will see Patrick Bussink and Austin Bragg sitting in capes, ruffs and doublets for a photo shoot to help create the advertising image for The Beard of Avon. One of the marketing tools that theater companies large and small employ to get the word out about their production is the use of posters and post cards. This requires the work of designers, photographers, models and costumes to create one image which will not only evoke what your show is about but also make it interesting enough to get people to come and spend some time with you at the theater.

Rorschach has been very lucky to have worked with some very creative photographers in the past couple of years to create what I think are some of the finest examples of theater post cards in DC. This time we were fortunate to have the help of photographer Chris Maddaloni for this photo shoot. Chris had previously taken some production shots for us for Behold! and we were so impressed that we thought we would ask him to take a stab at photographing our post card image for The Beard of Avon. A group of four actors then donned some of the costumes which have been assembled by Jenn Miller for the show and several Shakespeare masks and surrounded our Shakespeare, Grady Weatherford and posed their arses off. I will hopefully have some shots to show you later this week.

In the past we have worked with photographers like my friend Paul Schuster who helped us with the images for The Scarlet Letter and Behold! and Virgilio Santos who helped us create images for Lord of the Flies, Ubu Roi and A Clearing in the Woods. Recently Grady Weatherford has assisted in the layout and production of the post cards. These images have helped draw people into Rorschach Theatre again and again with the promise of stage images which will hopefully be as evocative as the images on the post cards.